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Firestone Auto Repair Deceptive Practices

Posted Mon November 26, 2007 12:04 pm, by Barbara T. written to Firestone Complete Auto Care

On Sunday, November 25, approximately 11 am, I visited the Firestone Complete Auto Care Center because the "check engine" light on my 2004 Ford Freestar had come on.

After about an hour, I was informed that the problem was a valve, and the estimate for repair would be $600.

Not having $600 at the moment, I asked the gentleman behind the counter what the function of the valve was, and how long he thought I could continue to drive the van without replacing it.

He stumbled and paused before admitting that he didn't really know what the valve did, only that it needed to be replaced and would "get worse".

I asked for a printout of the estimate and my keys, intended to research this issue further at home.

I was told that the bill for this inspection would be $85.13. I expressed surprise at this amount, since the list of services on the wall behind the counter said "Complete inspection $19.99". I was told that this "complete" inspection did not include a computer diagnostic, which was $79.99. There was no listing on the board at all for "Computer Diagnostic."

When I got back in my van, I discovered that the estimate for replacing the valve was in fact, just $260.00. The additional $340.00 were estimates for other services, such as a fuel injection cleaning and replacing the fuel filter. So the cost of fixing the problem that caused my service light to come on was not $600, as your employee stated. It was $240.00. I may have needed all those other services too, but they should have been included in the estimate to repair the one issue I specifically asked about.

I found the behavior of your employee very deceptive.

As a nationwide chain, I would think that your reputation would matter to you.

All services offered, and their prices should be listed on the board. If a "Complete Inspection" does not include computer diagnostics, that ought to be spelled out clearly.

An employee at an auto repair center ought to be able to tell a customer to function of any part in a vehicle (or research that information).

And finally, employees should not try to trick customers into paying for additional services.

I will not be taking my business to Firestone, and I will not recommend your company to others.


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by donno Posted Mon November 26, 2007 @ 2:47 PM

You weren't treated the way I would want to be. I had a somewhat
similar experience at a dealer once. I do all my own work, but this
was an odd circumstance and I had my car towed to a dealer.

I called the next day, and was given an absurd estimate as to the cost
of repair. When questioned, the service guy read off a list of items
in addition to what it went in for. The added items didn't sound
right, and also weren't necessary to drive the car. I had just the
need item fixed.

Long story short, went to the selling dealer later to get a
complimentary state inspection, and they verified the extra items were
not in need of service. I reported it to the car manufacturer with
the printouts from both dealers.

So, I agree totally that they were less than upfront with you regading
the necessary repair vs what else can we replace for a fee. Also, the
Computer Diagnostic fee should be posted. I believe some auto stores
such as Autozone will read your codes for free (gasp).


by Harleycat Posted Mon November 26, 2007 @ 1:30 PM

While I do agree with Redhead, I have to ask, did you expect them to
check out the problem for free? All mechanics will charge a
diagnostic fee, even the dealers, and waive the fee if you have them
do the repair.


I think she was fine with the $20 fee by RedheadwGlasses Mon November 26, 2007 @ 1:34 PM

Computer Diagnostics.. by Harleycat Mon November 26, 2007 @ 1:48 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Mon November 26, 2007 @ 12:57 PM

Excellent letter. I agree with you on everything. And I also think
they should have checked with you before running the computer
diagnostic ("If we need to run a computer diagnostic, that'll be $80,
do you approve that charge?").

"An employee at an auto repair center ought to be able to tell a
customer to function of any part in a vehicle (or research that

When I've had auto work done, the person ringing me up is a
mechanical, not a front desk employee, so if he can't tell you why you
need a valve replaced, I don't blame you for taking your business
elsewhere! I'd love to find out what your second opinion results in.


The valve in question relates to the emissions system by BarbaraT Wed November 28, 2007 @ 11:50 AM

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